About the Manchuria
Manchuria is a modern name given to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within China, or partly in Russia, the Russian part often known as Outer Manchuria in English. Outer Manchuria is the unofficial term for the territory formerly claimed by the Qing Empire and now belonging to Russia, while the Chinese part is known as Inner Manchuria now usually referred to as Northeast China.
( The part of original Manchuria territory in modern China map)
The Manchurian region is the traditional homeland of the Manchu, Xianbei, Korean, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states historically.
Manchu Aisin Gioro Nurhaci founded "Great Jin". Manchus have their own distinct spoken language and culture. It belongs to the Manchu-Tungusic group in the Altaic language family, as distant relatives to the Turks and Mongols. The written language uses an alphabetic script borrowed from the Mongols.
In 1636, the Manchu Emperor Aisin Gioro Hongtaiji started the conquest of China. He drove Ming Dynasty forces out of Liaodong and declared a new dynasty, the Qing. He also published a decree to clarify that they were not Jurchen people, that they were Manchus and declared the start of the Great Qing dynasty.
( The Manchu Eight Banners)
After the conquest of China, the Qing Emperor established a rigorous system of ethnic separation from the Han Chinese, the most important ethnic groups of the Qing Dynasty being Manchus, Mongols, Tibetans, Hans (original Chinese) and Uighur's. The Manchus were organized into groups called the Eight Banners into which some groups of collaborating Mongols and Han Chinese were also integrated and which latter were called the Outer Han Eight Banners. Most Outer Banners were prisoners of war or those that had surrendered in past conflicts. This grouping was then passed down to succeeding generations. Manchu Eight Banners people had benefits and social privileges above other Han Chinese.
(Costumes of the Manchu Eight Banners)
During the 19th century, the Han Chinese nationalists increasingly put the blame for China's continuing defeats by foreign powers on the Manchus, the ruling foreign people.
The leader of the Xinha evolution, Dr. Sun Yat-sen declared "get rid of the Tartars (Manchus) and restore our Han sovereignty and democracy". A lot of Manchus were killed in attacks by Han Chinese.
After the foundation of the Republic of China in 1911, persons of Manchu origin, as a consequence of government repression, adopted Chinese names and concealed their identity. Most Manchus gave up their own language and adopted Mandarin and Chinese writing. This hiding of identities and adoption of Han Chinese culture continued and was emphasized during the Cultural Revolution.
The Manchus living in China (Inner Manchuria) now mostly reside in the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang and they mostly speak Mandarin. Those living in Outer Manchuria still speak and write their own language and also Russian.
Unfortunately, there are not too many Manchus able to speak and write their own language in China. They have, however,begun to realize the importance of protecting their own language and culture.